Okta wreck 1913
OKTA, barque : When bound to Falmouth, England, by the customary trade route round Cape Horn, the barque was totally wrecked on September 18, 1913, when she put into Bluff Harbour in distress. The vessel sailed from Port Huon, Tasmania, on September 6, and on the following day encountered a heavy south-west gale, during which the barque sprang a serious leak in her forepeak. On the 9th it was decided to shape a course for the nearest port for which the southwest wind might be favourable, and the Okta was accordingly headed for Wellington. Three days later the wind veered to the north-west and increased to gale force, which caused the barque to be hove-to on the starboard tack for the next four days. On the night of September 17, the Okta was in Foveaux Strait, close to the Solanders, and the wind having died away to a dead calm, remained in that position until 4.30 a.m. on the 18th, when the wind came from the SSW. At 10 a.m. the vessel was abreast of Dog Island, and the course was altered for Stirling Point. The vessel’s destination being England, she was unprovided with charts of the New Zealand coast, and the helmsman kept his course at the command of the master. At 11.40 a.m. the Okta struck on the rocks about 300 yards from Stirling Point and 150 yards off shore. Travelling at a speed of eight knots, the barque stranded with a tremendous grating crash that shook her from stem to stern. She quickly settled down by the stern, making water very fast, and the after part was submerged at 2 p.m. At high water the Okta’s deck was covered, and being hard and fast on the rocks, it was apparent that she was a total wreck. All her crew landed safely. On September 22 the barque was abandoned to the underwriters. The rock on which she struck was the scene of three previous disasters, the steamer Scotia, schooner Maid of Otago, and the steamer Pelham having been wrecked on this rock, known as the Pelham Rock. The Okta’s cargo consisted of 600,000 feet of timber.
The Okta was an iron barque of 1,110 tons gross and 1,058 tons net register, built at Dumbarton in July, 1874, by – Swan, and her dimensions were length 221 ft., beam 34.3 ft., depth 20.7 ft. Originally named Jessie Osborne, this was later changed to Mariposa, and finally to Okta. She was owned by B. J. Grefstad, and her port of registry was Arendal, Norway. The barque was commanded by Captain C. Duus. (See plate 70.)